Friday, February 17, 2012

Guest Post: Tami from TamiHagglund.net

Today I have a fun guest post from my friend Tami. We became friends through the Mars Hill Church blog and while we have never actually met in real life, we love to keep up with each other lives via blogs and facebook! I really appreciate how she writes from the heart about her life. Tami has an amazing story, amazing faith, an adorable family and some AMAZING news to share. 
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As a woman, body image is an issue that I face every day of my life. Often it’s my own negative thoughts, always thinking I’m too fat, not tall enough, I wish I had straighter teeth, a less “cutesy” nose…the list is endless. Even when I’m in a place of feeling more peace about my body, I don’t think I’ve ever gone a day of my life without encountering something that affects women and how we are told to see ourselves. I don’t know a single woman—and I know some lovely, godly women!—who doesn’t also face this pain every single day.
My personal story is complex. I was always the chubby girl, and a plethora of tragic circumstances and my own desire to find comfort and worth in being able to eat anything I wanted led me to 376 pounds, my highest recorded weight, in November 2007 at age 26. An extreme back injury and sincere effort with diet and exercise led my husband and I to choose the gracious option of gastric bypass surgery in September 2009. It saved my life, and the surgery paired with a lot of effort in the gym and total lifestyle change in eating helped me lose 120 pounds in 9 months. I was 256 when we were surprised with the glorious news that we were pregnant in June 2010! 

My lovely family!
Despite a careful pregnancy, I slacked on healthy eating and exercise habits after my son was born in March 2011. Around August I realized that I was 280 pounds, crawling up the scale, and decided it was time to “get back on track.” I wasn’t motivated by worshiping God or healthy stewardship of my body—I was motivated by fear of death and fear of what others would think, plus a level of disgust that I knew better.
That was 7 months ago and a LOT has changed. I am 14 pounds lighter, but that’s the smallest change. What is nearly unrecognizable is my heart. I wrote a big ol’ series about it on my blog and you are welcome to read through it—one night around Christmas I reread all 16 posts and it got me excited and reminded me of things I learned all over again! The biggest difference is feeling peace about the body I have whatever size I am. I would still love to lose more weight, and my husband and I do agree that it’s the healthiest choice to continue the lifestyle changes of consistent weekly exercise and healthy eating that I have (re)made. I want to be healthy enough to run around playing energetically as my son and future babies grow.
The most pressing issue on my heart is this question: what shapes how I see my body? Is it formed through worshiping Jesus, asking Him to help me endure when my workout feels too hard and asking him to help have freedom in choosing to eat well but to also enjoy the food? Or do I believe the lies that plague Pinterest? 

Click on image above for a link to a site exposing how tragically
Photoshop alters real women into fake images that accuse
women of failure to measure up.
We would all love to really believe woman’s value is not based on her beauty—let’s just be honest here, ok? Some women have just gorgeous faces. Others can play with make-up and look good enough that most people would call her pretty. Some women just don’t have what we consider beautiful faces in our culture. So what if you get that body but you’re still not considered beautiful? Do you have no value as a person in our culture? I won’t lie to you—thinner women are literally more valued. But as I have learned, nothing can replace the truth that I was created intentionally by a loving God, and every tiny physical aspect I possess was planned and designed. He not only gave his son in order to have relationship with me but he also is constantly present and loving every single day. He calls me beautiful, precious, and beloved and that is a truth worth returning to when the culture lies to me!
As for pursuing actual health, realizing my body is not my own has made a huge difference. I was thinking of it this way today: if this body were on loan from a woman I really love, say this exact body were to be inhabited a daughter of mine when she turns 30, how would I treat it differently? What would I do the same? The fact is, this body belongs to Jesus but I get to steward it. I want to honor him with my stewardship. The best part, though, is that I have a loving, gracious, patient God who isn’t angrily shaking his head when I skip a work out or sighing in disgust when I don’t eat well. His intent is always for my freedom and joy, which he delights to give for his glory.
I get the opportunity to steward my body well not just for myself, my husband, and my son. And though it’s ultimately for Jesus it’s not just for Jesus—we found out recently that I’m pregnant again and we’re expecting circa September 29th. I’m already praying for an October baby and, ultimately, that I will embrace joy as my body serves this child. That matters so much more than ever being a size 6!
I pray that the next time you see anything that suggests to you that you aren’t good enough, pretty enough, worth enough that this post would be brought to mind and you’ll experience that freedom and joy!

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Thanks again, Tami and CONGRATS on baby #2! So so excited for you. 

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